Reid knocks GOP’s sequester road trip

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday pushed back against Republican pressure to unwind automatic cuts to defense programs that were agreed to as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act.

GOP Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTo woo black voters in Georgia, Dems need to change their course of action Senate panel again looks to force Trump’s hand on cyber warfare strategy Senate panel advances 6B defense policy bill MORE (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRetired English teacher corrects letter from Trump and sends it back to White House Graham: Trump 'probably' shouldn't call use of FBI informant 'spygate' Graham on canceled summit: Trump thought North Korea was ‘playing him’ MORE (S.C.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteThe Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP Audit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years MORE (N.H.) traveled to Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire this week to talk about the damage the cuts would inflict on the military.

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Some Democrats have seen the senators’ town halls as a politicized effort to reinforce presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign strategy of blaming President Obama for the defense cuts.

Reid said McCain, Graham and Ayotte should focus on pressing their GOP colleagues to accept tax increases to pay for erasing the defense sequester.

He applauded suggestions by McCain and Graham that the defense cuts could be averted by closing niche tax breaks.

“There are a few Republicans wandering around the country stirring up things on sequester. The point of their trip is to call for the defense cuts — and have those defense cuts replaced with some revenues. Well, that’s good,” Reid said.

“What I say to my Republican colleagues: ‘I couldn’t agree more that deficit reduction should include revenues.’ They should spend their time getting their fellow Republicans on board,” he added.

Reid said it is unfair for Republicans to blame Democrats for the pending defense cuts because many of them supported them last year.

“The balanced package of cuts called the sequester was passed by a bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress,” he said. “Twenty-eight Republicans voted for these cuts in the Senate, including Sen. McCain, who’s part of the road trip. By refusing to replace cuts with revenues, Republicans are putting millionaires ahead of the middle class and the military.”

He said an agreement could be reached quickly if Republicans compromised on taxes.

“We could avoid these defense cuts tomorrow if Republicans would simply ask millionaires to pay their fair share,” he said.